FEDERAL EMPLOYEE ANTIDISCRIMINATION ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 8
(House of Representatives - January 15, 2019)

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[Pages H558-H562]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




            FEDERAL EMPLOYEE ANTIDISCRIMINATION ACT OF 2019

  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 135) to amend the Notification and Federal Employee 
Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 to strengthen Federal 
antidiscrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity 
Commission and expand accountability within the Federal Government, and 
for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 135

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Employee 
     Antidiscrimination Act of 2019''.

     SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

       Section 102 of the Notification and Federal Employee 
     Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 
     note) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (4), to read as follows:
       ``(4) accountability in the enforcement of Federal employee 
     rights is furthered when Federal agencies take appropriate 
     disciplinary action against Federal employees who have been 
     found to have committed discriminatory or retaliatory 
     acts;''; and

[[Page H559]]

       (2) in paragraph (5)(A)--
       (A) by striking ``nor is accountability'' and inserting 
     ``but accountability is not''; and
       (B) by inserting ``for what by law the agency is 
     responsible'' after ``under this Act''.

     SEC. 3. NOTIFICATION OF VIOLATION.

       Section 202 of the Notification and Federal Employee 
     Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 
     note) is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(d) Notification of Final Agency Action.--
       ``(1) Not later than 30 days after a Federal agency takes 
     final action or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 
     issues an appellate decision involving a finding of 
     discrimination or retaliation prohibited by a provision of 
     law covered by paragraph (1) or (2) of section 201(a), as 
     applicable, the head of the agency subject to the finding 
     shall provide notice for at least 1 year on the agency's 
     internet website in a clear and prominent location linked 
     directly from the agency's internet home page stating that a 
     finding of discrimination or retaliation has been made.
       ``(2) The notification shall identify the date the finding 
     was made, the date or dates on which the discriminatory or 
     retaliatory act or acts occurred, and the law or laws 
     violated by the discriminatory or retaliatory act or acts. 
     The notification shall also advise Federal employees of the 
     rights and protections available under the respective 
     provisions of law covered by paragraph (1) or (2) of section 
     201(a).''.

     SEC. 4. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

       (a) Electronic Format Requirement.--
       (1) In general.--Section 203(a) of the Notification and 
     Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 
     2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 note) is amended--
       (A) by inserting ``Homeland Security and'' before 
     ``Governmental Affairs'';
       (B) by inserting ``Oversight and'' before ``Government 
     Reform''; and
       (C) by inserting ``(in an electronic format prescribed by 
     the Office of Personnel Management)'' after ``an annual 
     report''.
       (2) Effective date.--The amendment made by paragraph (1)(C) 
     shall take effect on the date that is 1 year after the date 
     of enactment of this Act.
       (3) Transition period.--Notwithstanding the requirements of 
     section 203(a) of the Notification and Federal Employee 
     Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 
     note), the report required under such section may be 
     submitted in an electronic format, as prescribed by the 
     Office of Personnel Management, during the period beginning 
     on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on the 
     effective date in paragraph (2).
       (b) Reporting Requirement for Disciplinary Action.--Section 
     203 of such Act is amended by adding at the end the 
     following:
       ``(c) Disciplinary Action Report.--Not later than 60 days 
     after the date on which a Federal agency takes final action 
     or a Federal agency receives an appellate decision issued by 
     the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving a 
     finding of discrimination or retaliation in violation of a 
     provision of law covered by paragraph (1) or (2) of section 
     201(a), as applicable, the employing Federal agency shall 
     submit to the Commission a report stating whether 
     disciplinary action has been initiated against a Federal 
     employee as a result of the violation.''.

     SEC. 5. DATA TO BE POSTED BY EMPLOYING FEDERAL AGENCIES.

       Section 301(b) of the Notification and Federal Employee 
     Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 
     note) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (9)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (B) in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking the period at the 
     end and inserting ``, and''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(C) for each such finding counted under subparagraph (A), 
     the agency shall specify--
       ``(i) the date of the finding;
       ``(ii) the affected agency;
       ``(iii) the law violated; and
       ``(iv) whether a decision has been made regarding necessary 
     disciplinary action as a result of the finding.''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(11) Data regarding each class action complaint filed 
     against the agency alleging discrimination or retaliation, 
     including--
       ``(A) information regarding the date on which each 
     complaint was filed;
       ``(B) a general summary of the allegations alleged in the 
     complaint;
       ``(C) an estimate of the total number of plaintiffs joined 
     in the complaint if known;
       ``(D) the current status of the complaint, including 
     whether the class has been certified; and
       ``(E) the case numbers for the civil actions in which 
     discrimination or retaliation has been found.''.

     SEC. 6. DATA TO BE POSTED BY THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY 
                   COMMISSION.

       Section 302(b) of the Notification and Federal Employee 
     Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 
     note) is amended by striking ``(10)'' and inserting ``(11)''.

     SEC. 7. NOTIFICATION AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEE ANTIDISCRIMINATION 
                   AND RETALIATION ACT AMENDMENTS.

       (a) Notification Requirements.--The Notification and 
     Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 
     2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 note) is amended by adding after section 
     206 the following:

     ``SEC. 207. COMPLAINT TRACKING.

       ``Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the 
     Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2019, each Federal 
     agency shall establish a system to track each complaint of 
     discrimination arising under section 2302(b)(1) of title 5, 
     United States Code, and adjudicated through the Equal 
     Employment Opportunity process from inception to resolution 
     of the complaint, including whether a decision has been made 
     regarding necessary disciplinary action as the result of a 
     finding of discrimination.

     ``SEC. 208. NOTATION IN PERSONNEL RECORD.

       ``If a Federal agency takes an adverse action covered under 
     section 7512 of title 5, United States Code, against a 
     Federal employee for an act of discrimination or retaliation 
     prohibited by a provision of law covered by paragraph (1) or 
     (2) of section 201(a), the agency shall, after all appeals 
     relating to such action have been exhausted, include a 
     notation of the adverse action and the reason for the action 
     in the employee's personnel record.''.
       (b) Processing and Referral.--The Notification and Federal 
     Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (5 
     U.S.C. 2301 note) is amended by adding at the end the 
     following:

                  ``TITLE IV--PROCESSING AND REFERRAL

     ``SEC. 401. PROCESSING AND RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS.

       ``Each Federal agency is responsible for the fair, 
     impartial processing and resolution of complaints of 
     employment discrimination and retaliation arising in the 
     Federal administrative process and shall establish a model 
     Equal Employment Opportunity Program that--
       ``(1) is not under the control, either structurally or 
     practically, of a Human Capital or General Counsel office;
       ``(2) is devoid of internal conflicts of interest and 
     ensures fairness and inclusiveness within the organization; 
     and
       ``(3) ensures the efficient and fair resolution of 
     complaints alleging discrimination or retaliation.

     ``SEC. 402. NO LIMITATION ON HUMAN CAPITAL OR GENERAL COUNSEL 
                   ADVICE.

       ``Nothing in this title shall prevent a Federal agency's 
     Human Capital or General Counsel office from providing advice 
     or counsel to Federal agency personnel on the processing and 
     resolution of a complaint, including providing legal 
     representation to a Federal agency in any proceeding.

     ``SEC. 403. HEAD OF PROGRAM REPORTS TO HEAD OF AGENCY.

       ``The head of each Federal agency's Equal Employment 
     Opportunity Program shall report directly to the head of the 
     agency.

     ``SEC. 404. REFERRALS OF FINDINGS OF DISCRIMINATION.

       ``(a) EEOC Findings of Discrimination.--Not later than 30 
     days after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issues 
     an appellate decision involving a finding of discrimination 
     or retaliation within a Federal agency, the Commission shall 
     refer the matter to the Office of Special Counsel.
       ``(b) Referrals to Special Counsel.--The Office of Special 
     Counsel shall accept and review a referral from the 
     Commission under subsection (a) for purposes of seeking 
     disciplinary action under its authority against a Federal 
     employee who commits an act of discrimination or retaliation.
       ``(c) Notification.--The Office of Special Counsel shall 
     notify the Commission in a case in which the Office of 
     Special Counsel initiates disciplinary action.
       ``(d) Special Counsel Approval.--A Federal agency may not 
     take disciplinary action against a Federal employee for an 
     alleged act of discrimination or retaliation referred by the 
     Commission under this section except in accordance with the 
     requirements of section 1214(f) of title 5, United States 
     Code.''.
       (c) Conforming Amendments.--The table of contents in 
     section 1(b) of the Notification and Federal Employee 
     Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (5 U.S.C. 2301 
     note) is amended--
       (1) by inserting after the item relating to section 206 the 
     following:

``Sec. 207. Complaint tracking.
``Sec. 208. Notation in personnel record.'';
     and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:

                  ``TITLE IV--PROCESSING AND REFERRAL

``Sec. 401. Processing and resolution of complaints.
``Sec. 402. No limitation on Human Capital or General Counsel advice.
``Sec. 403. Head of Program reports to head of agency.
``Sec. 404. Referrals of findings of discrimination.''.

     SEC. 8. NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT LIMITATION.

       Section 2302(b) of title 5, United States Code, is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (13)--
       (A) by inserting ``or the Office of Special Counsel'' after 
     ``Inspector General'';
       (B) by striking ``implement'' and inserting ``(A) 
     implement''; and
       (C) by striking the period that follows the quoted material 
     and inserting ``; or''; and
       (2) by adding after subparagraph (A), as added by paragraph 
     (1)(B), and preceding the flush left matter that follows 
     paragraph (13), the following:
       ``(B) implement or enforce any nondisclosure policy, form, 
     or agreement, if such policy, form, or agreement prohibits or 
     restricts

[[Page H560]]

     an employee from disclosing to Congress, the Office of 
     Special Counsel, or an Office of the Inspector General any 
     information that relates to any violation of any law, rule, 
     or regulation, or mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an 
     abuse of authority, or a substantial, and specific danger to 
     public health or safety, or any other whistleblower 
     protection.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Maryland (Mr. Cummings) and the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. 
Foxx) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland.


                             General Leave

  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous material on H.R. 135.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Maryland?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Madam Speaker, today I am very pleased to bring to the floor six 
bills from the Committee on Oversight and Reform. Each bill, I am very 
glad to say, enjoys bipartisan sponsorship. These measures will 
strengthen protections for Federal employees and for congressional 
interns and enhance accountability and improve the Federal procurement 
and grant processes.
  The first measure we are bringing today is H.R. 135, the Federal 
Employee Antidiscrimination Act. This bill is essentially identical to 
legislation that has passed the House in each of the two previous 
Congresses. In the 114th Congress, the measure passed by a vote of 403-
0; and in the last Congress, it passed by voice vote.
  Madam Speaker, I thank my colleagues--Representatives Meadows, 
Norton, Sensenbrenner, and Jackson Lee--for working with me on this 
measure.

                              {time}  1245

  I thank them for their leadership and their commitment for improving 
our Federal equal opportunity programs.
  Let me also thank Tanya Ward Jordan, Paulette Taylor, and all the 
members of the Coalition 4 Change, known as C4C, for their work on this 
measure and for their years of perseverance as we have worked to try to 
get this measure enacted into law.
  One of my highest priorities as chairman of the Oversight Committee 
is to protect the right of every single Federal employee, every Federal 
job applicant, and indeed of every citizen, to equality of opportunity. 
While the clear majority of Federal workplaces are in compliance with 
the standards for a model Equal Employment Opportunity program 
promulgated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sadly, some 
still are not. It is past time for these failures to be corrected.
  During our committee's bipartisan investigations of several different 
agencies--including the Forest Service, the Park Service, and the 
Transportation Security Administration--we have seen firsthand the 
consequences that employees suffer when agencies fail to operate model 
EEO programs or when they do not handle complaints of harassment and 
discrimination in a fair, timely, consistent, and thorough manner.
  We have also seen how employees who file complaints with their 
agencies' EEO programs can be victimized again if appropriate steps are 
not taken to prevent the disclosure of complainants' identities and 
personal information.
  H.R. 135 would strengthen the management of Federal EEO programs by 
requiring that they operate independently of agencies' human resources 
and general counsel offices. H.R. 135 would require that the head of 
each agency EEO program report directly to the head of the agency. This 
policy is critical to ensuring that agencies prioritize their EEO 
programs at the highest levels and that their sole purpose is to ensure 
equal opportunity for all employees.
  H.R. 135 would strengthen the accountability mechanisms that are 
central to effectiveness of the EEO process. The bill would also 
prohibit any forms, policies, or agreements that seek to prevent an 
employee from disclosing waste, fraud, or abuse to Congress, the Office 
of Special Counsel, or an Inspector General.
  Madam Speaker, the provisions in this bill are very simple, and the 
entire House has repeatedly supported them on a bipartisan basis. I 
urge my colleagues to support H.R. 135, and I urge the Senate to pass 
this bill as quickly as possible.
  Let me be clear that while the measure before us is important to 
improving our Federal workplaces, many of those workplaces are shut 
down today, and they have been shut down longer than at any time in our 
great Nation's history. As the legislation before us proves, we can 
come together in a bipartisan manner to enact measures that will help 
the millions of Americans who work for the Federal Government.
  As I have often said, our Federal employees do not want us, the 
government, to hurt them; they want us to help them. We ought to be 
able to come together on a bipartisan basis and take the simple step of 
reopening our government and ensuring that the programs and services on 
which our Nation depends are functioning and that the people who work 
for us get paid so they can take care of their families and take care 
of their bills, for they give their blood, their sweat, and their tears 
to keep our country together.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. FOXX of North Carolina. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time 
as I may consume.
  Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 135, the Federal 
Employee Antidiscrimination Act. H.R. 135 amends the Notification and 
Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, 
commonly referred to as the No-FEAR Act, to better identify and correct 
instances of discrimination throughout the Federal Government.
  Specifically, H.R. 135 requires Federal agencies to establish a 
system to track Equal Employment Opportunity complaints from beginning 
to end. This system must also track any disciplinary action that 
resulted from a finding of a discriminatory act. If a disciplinary 
action is taken by an agency against an employee, both the disciplinary 
action and the reason for the action must be included in the employee's 
personnel record.
  H.R. 135 implements notification and reporting requirements for 
instances of discrimination within Federal agencies. Agencies must post 
a notice on their website if the agency or Equal Employment Opportunity 
Commission finds that a discriminatory or retaliatory act has occurred.
  The bill also requires agencies to submit a report to the EEOC if a 
discriminatory or retaliatory act is found to have occurred. The report 
must include any disciplinary action initiated against an employee for 
discrimination or retaliation against another employee.
  Lastly, the bill bars agencies from using nondisclosure agreements or 
policies to restrict Federal employees from reporting waste, fraud, and 
abuse to Congress, the Office of Special Counsel, and Inspectors 
General.
  Madam Speaker, I thank Mr. Cummings for his good work on this piece 
of legislation, I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from the District of Columbia (Ms. Norton).
  Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I thank the distinguished chairman for 
yielding, and I particularly thank him for his remarks concerning this 
bill.
  I am particularly pleased to rise in support of this bill as a former 
chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This bill 
strengthens the protections Federal employees enjoy under the 
antidiscrimination laws of our country.
  It reinforces the importance of this antidiscrimination provisions by 
requiring that the head of that program report directly to the agency 
head. It expands notification of findings of discrimination and any 
action that has been taken pursuant to those findings. Surely, we 
understand the importance of this section at a time when we have just 
recently passed the sexual harassment provisions, and, of course, we 
can see the deterrent effect of assuring any disciplinary action that 
has been taken is known to the public.

[[Page H561]]

  Finally, the bill bars agreements that would keep employees from 
disclosing any kind of Federal violation, as well as fraud, waste, and 
abuse. The latter provision is normally called a whistleblower 
provision.
  Madam Speaker, I particularly appreciate that the chairman has 
brought this bill to the floor--I am sure it is noncontroversial--but 
he has brought it at a time when Federal employees are experiencing the 
longest shutdown in U.S. history. This bill cannot and does not purport 
to make up in any way for the effects of the shutdown. But this bill 
sends a message to Federal employees that they are particularly valued 
and, so far as I can tell, it sends it in a unanimous fashion, just as 
the shutdown should have a unanimous resolution.
  It happens that around 62,000 Federal employees live in my own 
district, because this is the Capital of the United States--the 62,000, 
I should add, who are furloughed or working with no pay.
  But I want to remind Members that each and every Member of this body 
has Federal employees who are at home desiring to work and are 
furloughed as I speak. Though I represent a large number, some Members 
from the far West States should know that they are among those who 
represent the largest number of Federal employees. That is how 
dependent they are far away from Washington on Federal employees.
  Madam Speaker, the President seems to have moved a step away from 
claiming dictatorial powers to commandeer Federal funds to open the 
government. That is probably because somebody drew to his attention the 
extraordinary spectrum of constitutional, legal, political, and 
financial issues that would be raised, not to mention a court suit that 
is probably being prepared, just in case, as I speak.
  But, Madam Speaker, I am coming to the floor as well to urge our 
committee--and the new Democratic majority of which I am a member--to 
use this crisis of Trump's making to carefully rethink the President's 
emergency powers, leaving him ample room to move in case of an actual 
emergency while giving Congress more latitude to contain executive 
excess.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, I yield the gentlewoman from the 
District of Columbia an additional 2 minutes.
  Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, in the meantime, I want to lay before the 
House the easiest of compromises. When I was a tenured professor of law 
at Georgetown University Law School, I taught negotiations. We usually 
worked with a number of issues in a negotiation at the same time. 
However, the easiest compromise to reach is one that involves a number. 
The number the President clings to is $5 billion. I can think of 
endless ways--and I am sure every Member can--to compromise that 
number.
  So in the name of a mounting number of Americans who are beginning to 
feel the consequences of the shutdown, though they are not Federal 
employees--not to mention the Federal employees themselves--I am asking 
even for my side to make a more concerted effort to reach an agreeable 
number, even though the polls show that the American people are with 
the Democrats on this issue.
  As a suggestion, I ask that the Democrats appoint a subcommittee and 
that the administration do the same to sit down and hammer out an 
acceptable compromise.
  For more than two centuries now, we have operated under a separation-
of-powers government to make tyrannical rule nearly impossible. Even 
Trump is hesitating to declare an emergency to get his border wall. 
That throws the ball in our camp, we who are Democrats who control this 
House. I ask that we accept it, use it, run with it, and settle this 
matter now.
  Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Ms. FOXX of North Carolina. Madam Speaker, I would like to make the 
gentleman from Maryland aware that I have no further speakers, and I am 
prepared to close.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time 
remains?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Maryland has 8 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Madam Speaker, I just want to associate myself with the words of the 
gentlewoman from the District of Columbia. So often what we see is our 
Federal employees often being criticized when it came to trying to find 
money when we have budgetary problems. It seems that there is an effort 
to constantly go in to the Federal employees and make them pay. And 
they do all kinds of jobs. I agree with the gentlewoman. This bill does 
not solve the problem with the shutdown.

                              {time}  1300

  At least I hope that we are sending a message to them that we care 
about them and that we understand and we feel their pain.
  I agree with the gentlewoman. In some kind of way, we ought to be 
able to move from where we are to getting folks back to work, an 
independent group looking at, perhaps, the issues that confront the 
compromisers--that is, looking at this wall--and deal with that at some 
other time. But we need to get people back to work.
  People are in pain. They are feeling it. Not only are the employees 
feeling it, but all the people who are coming into the various parks or 
whatever, who simply want to have a nice day, who simply want to have 
some reasonable entertainment that does not cost them a lot by going 
for a walk in the park; for getting the services that are needed; for 
making sure that our airplanes do not have folks on them carrying guns.
  These folks who we saw in the airport over the weekend, they are the 
same ones who are coming in day after day and working for no pay. We 
are better than that, and I am praying that we will get this issue 
resolved.
  The gentlewoman from the District of Columbia talked about the number 
of people who she has in her district who are Federal employees. We, in 
Maryland, have over 100,000 Federal employees, and we have so many 
people who work for the Federal Government through contracting. There 
must be a way to get this done.
  I am going to close, but I will give the gentlewoman her opportunity, 
and then I will come back, Madam Speaker. Therefore, I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. FOXX of North Carolina. Madam Speaker, I urge adoption of the 
bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I thank my colleagues who worked very hard on this bill: Congressman 
Meadows, Congresswoman Norton, Congressman Sensenbrenner, and 
Congresswoman Jackson Lee. All of them worked in a strong, bipartisan 
way to make this happen.
  H.R. 135 is a simple, straightforward measure that would make a 
handful of changes to require the Federal agencies' equal employment 
opportunity programs conform to the model standards set forth by the 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and to strengthen 
accountability.
  This bill has had overwhelming bipartisan support from the entire 
House of Representatives for years, and I urge the Senate to pass this 
measure as soon as possible.
  As I close, I do not want to address extraneous issues that have 
previously arisen regarding this measure in the Senate Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. I want to be crystal clear 
that I believe that the supervisors who engage in discriminatory or 
retaliatory actions must be held accountable. However, this can be 
accomplished without curtailing any existing due process rights for 
Federal employees, and I will continue to oppose efforts to roll back 
due process rights.
  Madam Speaker, I urge the House to vote in favor of this bill, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 135 the 
``Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination Act of 2019,'' which will 
strengthen the policies governing federal agencies' management of Equal 
Employment Opportunity (EEO) programs by amending the Notification and 
Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002.
  Equal Employment Opportunity programs enable federal employees or 
applicants who believe they have been the victims of discrimination to 
file a complaint about the alleged discrimination.

[[Page H562]]

  I support this legislation because it works to expand accountability 
within the federal government as federal agencies take appropriate 
disciplinary action against federal employees who have been found to 
have committed discriminatory or retaliatory acts.
  In 2012, federal employees and applicants for employment filed nearly 
16,000 EEO complaints; most of which were handled accordingly, but some 
federal agencies still have not met the standards of a model EEO 
program set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 
(EEOC).
  This legislation would require each federal agency to ensure its EEO 
program is not under the control of the agency's human resources or 
general counsel offices and that the head of the program reports 
directly to the agency head.
  Madam Speaker, this bill would also expand the notifications that 
agencies are required to provide when discrimination is found to have 
occurred, and it would require agencies to track and report whether 
necessary disciplinary action has been taken.
  Additionally, H.R. 135 would prohibit policies, forms, or agreements 
that prohibit or restrict an employee from disclosing to Congress, the 
Office of Special Counsel, or any Inspector General any information 
that relates to any violation of any law, rule, or regulation or any 
instance of waste, fraud, or abuse.
  Fighting discrimination is a commitment the federal government needs 
to make, beginning with their own employees at home and abroad.
  Men, women, of every race and religion deserve the same 
representation and protection under the United States government, and 
in order to fulfill the requirements of their job to the best of their 
ability, their right to not be discriminated against needs to be 
upheld.
  In 2013, Texas employers received almost 10 percent of the nation's 
federal employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation 
allegations, at about 9,000 total charges.
  I support this legislation because I support the rights of federal 
employees to feel safe and represented in their working environments, 
and obtain the correct protection they desire and deserve.
  For these reasons, I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 
135 to strengthen the policies surrounding work place discrimination in 
the federal government.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Cummings) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 135.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

                          ____________________